Monday’s stoppage of foreign exchange sales to Bureau De Change operators by the Central Bank of Nigeria failed to lift the naira on Tuesday as the currency exchanged for 300 against the United States dollar in Kano, 290 in Lagos and 292 in Abuja.
Financial experts said the naira would decline further, while private sector operators described the move as a welcome development.
The ban was announced on Monday, when naira trading at 285 against the dollar at the parallel market from 278 on Friday.
The Acting President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, told one of correspondents in a telephone interview that the currency traded against the greenback at 300, 290 and 292 in Kano, Lagos and Abuja a day after the CBN announcement.
“There is cut of (dollar) supply to the market. The BDC sub-sector has been murdered. We are not coping. The naira is going to head northwards. There is no solution in sight,” Gwadabe lamented.
The Head of Investment Research, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, said the stoppage of forex sale to the BDCs meant that the CBN wanted everybody to apply to the banks for dollars.
He stated, “But we feel the pressure now will move from the BDCs to the parallel market. We will see significant spike in the value of the naira at the parallel market because the little supply to the BDCs have also helped to cushion the demand at the parallel market.
“It will further compound or increase the spread between the parallel market and the interbank market. So, it will also increase round-tripping and unethical practices within the financial system.”
On the lifting of the ban on cash deposits into domiciliary accounts, Ebo said, “I am still sceptical about how this will work except they are also assuring us that if you deposit it, you can consummate business with it.”
A professor of financial economics at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Leo Ukpong, said, “I don’t think the stoppage of dollar sale to the BDCs will solve the problem. The currency will depreciate some more.
“This move will make the naira to weaken more as demand for dollar will skyrocket because of the short supply.”
Members of the organised private sector, however, applauded the CBN for the stopping the sale of dollars to the BDCs and lifting the ban on cash deposits into domiciliary accounts.
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said industrialists had earlier kicked against the funding of the BDCs by the central bank, adding that with the development, the forex could be channelled towards funding the real sector in terms of importation of raw materials.
On the removal of the restriction of cash deposits into domiciliary accounts, Jacobs said manufacturers were still waiting for more clarification as to how the money deposited could be utilised by the customers.
The Director-General, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Cobham, said the forex sale ban was a welcome development.
According to him, although the BDCs are necessary in the economy, they are licensed entities and should, therefore, source for their own funds.
Also speaking on the matter, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, lauded the forex policy review, noting that it had addressed the concerns of economic operators.
According to him, it is a source of worry that the CBN continues to maintain its official exchange rate at N199 to the dollar at a time of dwindling forex inflow.
“The pressure on the official window will persist. The risk of round-tripping and distortions in the foreign exchange market will consequently remain high,” he said.
Oil Rises to $43.76 Despite Falling Oil Demand
Brent Crude Rises to $43.76 Per Barrel on Friday
Oil price extended its gain on Friday despite OPEC and other experts predicting a further decline in demand for the commodity.
The Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose from $39.44 per barrel on Tuesday to $43.76 per barrel on Friday before pulling back to $43.42 per barrel.
The oil surged after reports showed that US oil producers were shutting down due to hurricanes and also that crude oil inventories dropped by over 9 million barrels in the week ended September 11, 2020.
The commodity started its bullish run a day after OPEC lowered its demand outlook for the year through the first half of 2021, saying recovery without COVID-19 remained slow.
“Once again, OPEC+ meets against a worrying backdrop of soft global oil prices and an uncertain demand outlook,” Cailin Birch from The Economist Intelligence Unit told CNBC via email on Thursday.
“We maintain our view that Brent crude prices will average just over $42 a barrel in 2020, assuming that OPEC+ partners reconfirm their commitment to output cuts at their September meeting,” Birch said.
Another expert, Tim Bray, a senior portfolio manager at GuideStone Capital Management, through an email said “I do not believe we should expect any material change of course out of the OPEC meeting this week when they review market fundamentals, in part because compliance with previously agreed production cuts has been high,” Tim Bray, senior portfolio manager at GuideStone Capital Management, told CNBC via email.
“It might set the stage for action at future meetings, however,” Bray said.
Coronavirus: European Investment Bank (EIB) Approves € 12.6bn Financing for Transport, Clean Energy, Urban Development and COVID-19 Resilience
€ 3.1 billion for COVID-19 public health and business financing; € 3.5 billion for private sector investment and working capital schemes; € 3 billon for clean energy and energy efficiency investment around the world; € 2 billion for Naples-Bari high speed train link largest loan in EIB history.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) today approved € 12.6 billion of new financing for projects across Europe and around the world.
New financing agreed today includes more than € 3.1 billion of COVID-19-related investment to improve public health, strengthen public services and back investment by companies in sectors hit by the pandemic.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the EIB has approved € 20.1 billion to enable public and private partners around the world to better tackle health, social and economic challenges.
The EIB Board, meeting by video conference, also backed investment in agriculture, water, housing, telecommunications and urban development across Europe, as well as in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“Fighting climate change and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic must go hand in hand to achieve a green recovery. The EU Bank is working around the world to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on lives, jobs and businesses; and to ensure that investment focuses on sustainability, innovation, and on reducing the devastating impact of climate change. The 12.6 billion Euros of new EIB financing approved today show how we are working with thousands of local partners to make a long-term difference to people’s lives during these challenging times”, said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Largest ever EIB loan to transform travel in southern Italy
Passengers travelling between Rome, Naples and Bari will from 2027 benefit from reduced journey times, a quicker and environmentally friendly alternative to car transport, and improved connections thanks to the largest loan the EIB ever approved.
The EIB board gave the green light for a EUR 2 billion loan to support the construction of the new high-speed train link that will cut journey times by 1 hour and forty minutes between Naples and Bari. More than 2000 jobs will be created during construction and 200 once construction of the high speed line across a European cohesion region is complete.
The new green transport link, part of the Italian government’s “Unlock Italy” decree, will increase the competitiveness of raid transport, reduce carbon emissions and support social and economic development in southern Italy. It is part of the Scandinavia-Mediterranean Trans-European Network (TEN).
€ 3.6 billion to help businesses to better withstand COVID-19 challenges
Ensuring that entrepreneurs and employers can continue to invest and adapt to new challenges posed by COVID-19 is crucial.
Companies in the Baltics, Benelux, Cyprus, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as well as East Africa, Morocco, the Middle East and the Pacific will benefit from new targeted COVID-19 financing initiatives approved by the EIB today.
The new schemes, managed by local financial partners and banking intermediaries, will help reduce economic shocks, unlock new investment and enable targeted financing for sectors most vulnerable to COVID-19 uncertainties.
€ 3 billion for renewable energy and energy transition
Today’s board meeting agreed to support energy investment that will reduce energy use and increase generation of clean energy across Europe and around the world.
€ 1.6 billion will be used to finance small-scale local climate action projects in France, Italy and across the EU, managed by experienced financing partners.
Financing to support construction of new windfarms off the Dutch coast and in Bosnia, improve energy efficiency in Austria and Ukraine, renovate hydropower in Georgia, roll out smart meters in Lithuania and modernise electricity networks in Madeira and Hungary was also approved.
Millions of people across Africa and Latin America will be able to access reliable clean energy for the first time following EIB support for new off-grid solar schemes and energy transition.
€ 2.9 billion to improve urban and national sustainable transport
Rail transport in Italy is set to be transformed by EIB backed investment to upgrade rolling stock on the national network, alongside today’s approval of EUR 2 billion financing for the new high-speed line between Naples and Bari.
The EIB Board also agreed to support new investment to upgrade public transport in Sarajevo and Krakow, and to help improve a key motorway link in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Improving urban development and social housing
Thousands of families will benefit from new large-scale social housing investment across France and in Germany under new financing programs approved today.
The EIB Board also agreed to support the New Slussen urban development project that will transform of the heart of the Swedish capital Stockholm.
Hospital patients will benefit from EIB support for construction of a new regional hospital in Tournai and approval of a national scheme to improve mental health facilities across Belgium.
A new scheme to support long-term healthcare investment in French regions underserved by medical services was also agreed.
Crude Oil Rises Despite Demand Concerns as Hurricane Sally Disrupts Further Production
Oil Prices Surge as Hurricane Sally Disrupts Oil Production
Oil prices rose on Wednesday despite weak demand after strong hurricane sally threatens to disrupted operations of US oil producers amid a big drop in oil inventories.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is measured, rose from $39.34 barrel on Tuesday to $41.58 per barrel on Wednesday.
Accordingly, the US West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 1.8 percent to $38.96 per barrel.
American Petroleum Institute (API), a weekly oil projection report, on Tuesday reported that US crude oil inventories declined by 9.5 million barrels in the week ended September 11, 2020. This, experts at ING Research said if close to the real number due later today, could provide support for global oil prices.
The experts said, “If we see a number similar to the drawdown the API reported overnight, it would likely provide some immediate support to the market.”
This coupled with the fact that with reports that 25 percent of US offshore oil and gas output was halted and export ports were shut as the storm crawled offshore along the US Gulf Coast bolstered oil prices on Wednesday.
Oil prices gained despite OPEC lowering demand for the year, saying weak global recovery amid rising cases of COVID-19 will impact demand for the commodity through the first half of 2021.
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